Three Up, Three Down: Diamondbacks, Dodgers pass the torch for the hottest team

Gregor Blanco of the Arizona Diamondbacks is greeted with high fives after the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on September 6, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Welcome to this week’s edition of Three Up, Three Down — your weekly catch-up of the three best highlights (and lowlights) from around the league. We’re here for all of the cheers and the jeers, because it’s baseball. You can’t have a winner without someone losing along the way.

Up: The Diamondbacks are scorching hot

Hey look, an NL West team has gone on a very long win streak and even went nearly 100 innings without trailing. I know they’ve been great all season, but it seems like the Dodgers have really outdone themselves this time – wait, we’re not talking about the Dodgers? The Dodgers have actually lost 13 of their last 19 games (as of writing) and finally look human (more on that later). Yes, we’re talking about the Diamondbacks, who have a claim as being baseball’s most dangerous team.

The D-backs have been good all season, but they’ve really hit their stride when it counts. They have now won a franchise-record 13 straight games and have done so in dominant fashion. Again, they nearly broke the MLB record for going the most consecutive innings without trailing, and they even had one of their players make a little history along the way. For all their dominance, Arizona is still trailing Los Angeles by double digits in the NL West, but you have to imagine that absolutely nobody wants to see this team in October.

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig is out against Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Ketel Marte in the the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 6, 2017. Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Down: The Dodgers are ice cold

As it turns out, the Dodgers are actually just a group of humans instead of baseball robots who combined to form a buzzsaw that runs wild in the nightmares of every manager in baseball. Before we entered September, it sure seemed like the Dodgers were ready to make a run at the regular season wins record that the Mariners set back in 2001. However, they’ve lost nine of their last ten and would need to go on an Arizona-like tear to get to that mark.

With that being said, they’re still on pace for well over 100 victories. They’re still far ahead in the division. There’s still a healthy distance between them and the Houston Astros for baseball’s best record. You might not believe it from the way certain fans on their side of the internet are acting, but life is still good for the Dodgers! They’re just going through a very bumpy patch right now and as long as they fix it in time for the postseason, then they’ll probably look back on this period and laugh.

Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder J.D. Martinez hits a two run home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 4, 2017. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Up: J.D. “Just Dingers” Martinez

I mentioned that one of the Diamondbacks made a little bit of history during Arizona’s hot streak. That would be J.D. Martinez, who had himself a monster night on Monday. Martinez has been a boon to the Diamondbacks since his arrival at the Trade Deadline, but he outdid himself on Monday night when he sent four balls flying over the fences at Dodger Stadium.

J.D. Martinez became only the 18th player in history to hit four homers in the same game. To put that in perspective, there have actually been more perfect games thrown (23) than four-dinger games from one player. The fact that we’ve seen two of them this year is absolutely amazing. Yeah, the juiced ball may have something to do with it, but the record books aren’t going to take that into consideration, which means that Scooter Gennett and J.D. Martinez can rest assured that their gargantuan efforts will be remembered for a long, long time.

Boston Red Sox infielder Tzu-Wei Lin shares a laugh with Boston Red Sox assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez in the Sox dugout on Jun. 24, 2017.  Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Down: Red Sox used Apple Watches to steal signs

I know that this may come as a huge shock to you sports fans out there, but a sports team from New England got caught breaking the rules. The latest cheating incident occurred at Fenway Park, which is where the Yankees noticed something fishy was going on when it came to the Red Sox picking up on their signs. New York asked for an investigation, and the reports ended up bearing fruit as the New York Times reported that the Red Sox were using Apple Watches in an effort to steal signs.

Now, let’s be clear – every team in baseball is trying to steal signs. It’s been that way since baseball has been invented, so it’s not like the Red Sox are the only team doing this. They’re just the only team that got caught taking it to the next level by bringing technology into the mix. Judging by the reaction of Boston’s front office to this ordeal, the Red Sox aren’t expecting much in the way of punishment. However, it’s just another example of why Boston sports teams are more often than not the biggest heels in their respective sports.

 Cleveland Indians Carlos Santana celebrates with teammates after scoring a run against the Chicago White Sox during the fourth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sept. 6, 2017. Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

Up: Cleveland is just as hot as Arizona is right now

While this week’s Three Up, Three Down may seem like the Arizona show, it has to be noted that the Diamondbacks don’t even have the longest win streak going (as of writing). That honor belongs to Cleveland, who have won 14 straight games and are now running away with another AL Central title. They’re up by double-digits on the Twins now and appear to be gearing up to defend their AL Pennant crown once October rolls along.

Again, they’re in the same position that the Diamondbacks and Astros are in – despite their amazing performances, they’re probably still not going to catch the Dodgers. With that said, this is another team that none of the other playoff hopefuls are going to relish facing when the time eventually comes. That’s even when you put into consideration that the Astros finally shored up their rotation by adding Justin Verlander. It’s going to take a massive effort to get Cleveland out of here this year, and the defending AL Champions appear ready to make it as hard as possible on any up-and-comers this season.

Down: Mikie Mahtook has a “Jose Canseco” moment

Well, the rebuild in Detroit is officially underway. The Tigers traded Justin Upton to the Angels and then followed that up by shipping Justin Verlander to the Astros. That’s two of their highest paid and most talented players gone in the span of the week, which means that there’s no doubt about it now – the Tigers are rebuilding and it’ll probably be a while before they return to the forefront of baseball. Being a rebuilding team means that you’re willing to take lumps now in exchange for being the one handing out the lumps in the future.

That also brings in some bad luck with it, and that’s exactly what happened to Mikie Mahtook. Jose Ramirez hit a fly ball to left field that actually bounced twice off the yellow line on the top of the fence. After the second bounce, Mahtook took a swipe at it in an effort to bring it back into the field. Instead, he knocked it into the bullpen for a home run. That type of bad luck is astonishing, but Tigers fans may have to get ready for more of that type of luck from the same vein going forward.

Demetrius Bell can be contacted on Twitter @fergoe, which is where you can catch him tweeting mostly about any and everything under the sun. If you enjoyed what you’ve been reading, then go ahead and give him a follow!

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